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How to develop strategic business partnerships

It’s not always easy to find just the right business partner. Learn how to identify the stakeholder who can help you to boost your sales.


03/03/2017 | By

What will we see in this post

People who work in the digital market know that building partnerships may be an extremely useful strategy to expand the reach of your business/product.

What you may not know is that business partnerships are not established only between companies. They may be established between companies and associates, and, in the case of Hotmart, between Producers and Affiliates.

This group of external players is known as stakeholders. That’s because partnership possibilities are multiple and each of them has a different purpose, therefore, their stakeholders may also vary.

The word Stakeholder means strategic public and describes a person or group who has an interest in a Company or business, whether or not they have invested in them.

We know that it’s not an easy task to recognize the right partner for your business. That’s why we’ve listed 5 imperative tips for you to do well on this point as of now!

1- Identify possible business partnerships

For a business partnership to reap rewards, it has to be advantageous for everyone involved.

That’s why, before approaching one of your stakeholders and proposing a partnership, make it clear what each part has to gain from this association.

The more information you have, the easier it is to convince possible partners about the advantages of partnering up with you and your product.

Identify the competencies you lack, the ones you need to develop internally and the ones you could boost through partnerships.

Here, your objective is to find out the knowledge or practices that can be integrated into your processes, to generate a competitive advantage to your business and vice-versa.

How will you raise these data? The answer lies, one more time, on the Internet. Benchmark to get to know your market, access your potential partner’s websites and find out who their client is.

Your stakeholder is not always from the same niche/sub-niche as yours. But both your target audiences must share the same interests with your buyer persona so that the promotion is assertive.

Let’s take a look at a practical example:

Imagine you sell a course of Japanese cuisine and your product is very successful among the Asian community.

Your business starts to grow and you decide to expand your reach by creating a course about the Japanese culture.

You can associate to other Producers who have courses of Japanese language or anime, for example.

Note that, even though the sub niches are different, both products target people who are interested in oriental culture.

This way, each Producer and Affiliate involved earns new market shares.

2 – Partner up with companies who share the same values as you

When you have already identified the people and companies who perform in a given area, it is time to think about stronger and lasting alliances.

In order to do that, you need to take into account the values and ethical principles you work with and check your network where they can also be found.

Look for leaders and entrepreneurs who are in compass with your values and beliefs. This will reflect in the future of your negotiations in an impressive way.

Major companies, with a more traditional administration and well-defined hierarchy, will face some difficulties when associating to companies with flexible hours and less formalization.

Could you adapt to a very different culture? When in doubt if the effort to adapt is worth it, remember the first topic in this text: partnerships are only beneficial when they meet the needs of everyone involved.

The important thing here is to think that among all the possible stakeholders you have researched, some will be strategic allies for a very long time.

That’s why it’s important they share the same business vision as you. Otherwise, you will be “arm-wrestling” forever and, eventually, you might miss out on the timing to make decisions that could bring you both good results.

3 – Analyze all possible scenarios

Since business partnerships involve more than one person stating their opinion about something, it is important to discuss every aspect concerning it, whether they are subjective, legal or financial.

Be sure to sit with your partner to discuss best and worst case scenarios.

Go about both business plans and check if your goals are a match. Especially regarding the results you expect to get out of the partnership.

Since we’re talking about digital entrepreneurs, these details might be set out by email or Skype. As long as the records of these talks are filed throughout the extent of the business relationship.

The ideal thing is to write down a document officializing the main topics of this talk, such as:

  • What the responsibilities of each part are;
  • If the partnership is tied to a specific goal;
  • How future decisions will be made;
  • How promotion will be made;
  • How partners will share the profits (in the case of products developed with each other);
  • How to terminate the partnership, if the results aren’t what was expected.

4 – Always network

Have you ever heard the popular saying: “out of sight, out of mind?” It also applies to the market of digital products!

And, in this case, “being seen” means having a solid contact networking base. And, to build this contact network, you will need to, well, network.

I know, I know. The word networking is still a nightmare for the shy ones, but it is still the best way of finding strategic partners for your business.

But don’t think that networking is only showing up to functions, even though most people still make this connection.

Good networking is about keeping in touch with professionals in your segment, if possible through content that adds value to these connexions.

By content that adds value I mean that it’s not enough getting to Facebook or LinkedIn and adding everybody at random to send them messages about your product.

To be remembered, you’ll need to focus on entrepreneurs you see yourself having a relationship with, whether as business partners, associate or Affiliate.

The relevance of your network base will depend much more on the quality of the connexions you make than the number of people you add.

Some simple tips can help you with a good networking:

  • In business events, avoid talking only to people you already know. Here at Hotmart, for example, there is Fire, an annual event for affiliates, that is a great opportunity to multiply your network base.
  • Showing interest and holding a conversation is essential to keep your connexions engaged. In a few words, do not talk about your product right away, unless there is a context for that.
  • Your stakeholder is also a lead, therefore she needs to be taught about your product.
  • It’s important to keep your communication present. Congratulating your connexion for a new position, sending recommendations, sharing articles that may interest her. These are all advisable practices.
  • Many times, to contribute to someone else’s business only takes giving an opinion, promoting an event, sharing a link. These are simple attitudes that generate empathy on the network you’re building.

5- Bet on efficient communication

You, producer of digital content, know the importance of counting on strategic partnerships and motivated associates. Capable people who provide the necessary support for your business to grow.

But to get to this scenario, you’ll need to invest in efficient communication with all the players involved in your business.

Make each of their responsibilities clear and always be open to suggestions that may improve your performance.

Trust us: when the partners are in sync towards the same goals, it is easier to convince the customers of the advantages of buying the products/solutions you are selling, which will increase your conversion rate.

In short:

Contributing with other entrepreneurs, developing your abilities and being recognized by them, you will be able to establish good partnerships for your business. This way your product will have more and more reach and relevance in the market.  

What about you, do you have any tips you’d like to share with us? Leave them here in our comment section below.

This text was originally posted in January 2014 and updated to provide more accurate and complete information.